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Defense Spokesperson Clarifies Docking of Two Chinese Vessels for Joint Military Drill

Phnom Penh, 08 May, 2024: Amidst recent speculation, the docking of two Chinese naval vessels in Preah Sihanouk province has been clarified by H.E. Chhum Socheat, Spokesperson of the Cambodian Ministry of National Defense, as part of preparations for an upcoming joint military exercise titled "Golden Dragon" between the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) and the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA), slated for mid-May.

Addressing misconceptions, Socheat emphasized in a Facebook post that the presence of these vessels does not signify the establishment of a Chinese military base in Cambodia. He denounced recent reports from foreign radio stations exaggerating the situation, labeling it as misinformation intended to distort Cambodia's sovereignty and international activities.

According to Socheat, the docking of the Chinese vessels stems from an agreement between the Cambodian and Chinese Ministries of National Defense. China's involvement includes training Cambodian naval forces in technical skills related to ship usage and modern technologies, contributing to the modernization of the Cambodian Navy. This collaboration reflects the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two nations and their shared vision of a Community of Common Destiny.

Moreover, the spokesperson clarified that the docking serves as a trial for the Ream port, constructed with Chinese assistance. Cambodia's intention to procure similar vessels for future military use underscores the docking's purpose as a training exercise rather than the establishment of a permanent Chinese military presence in Cambodia, as portrayed by certain foreign media outlets with political agendas.

Reaffirming Cambodia's stance, Socheat reiterated the government's unwavering position against hosting foreign military bases, in adherence to the country's constitution.

The upcoming "Golden Dragon" military exercise, the 6th of its kind, will focus on joint counter-terrorism operations and humanitarian relief efforts.

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